The Buck Stops Here
By: Steven Heller
Is U.S. paper currency inferior to all others? Is it worth the paper it is printed on? Many designers have questioned the aesthetics (if not the value) of our sacred bills. Now designer Richard Smith brings us “The Dollar ReDe$ign Project,” which he says “hopes to bring about change for everyone. We want to rebrand the US Dollar, rebuild financial confidence and revive our failing economy.” Will a redesign do the trick? Or shouldn’t we revalue our basic metrics of wealth?
Redesign has been tried before. W.A. Dwiggins created Towards Reform of the Currency: Particularly in Point of Its Design. Published for 452 Subscribers by The Limited Editions Club. New York: Limited Editions Club, 1932, it is w witty treatise on aesthetics including Dwig’s “specimens” of currency and postage stamps from the “Antipodes,” his imaginary country. Another was attempt was Herb Lubalin’s 1968 Avant Garde magazine special (top) devoted to 19 illustrators’ re-casting of the mighty greenback in chromolithic colors.
Since we all need positive signs of economic upturn, below are some of the entries to The Dollar ReDe$ign Project.